A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Research & Innovation Grants

Wild"Chats" (2019-20)

Wild"Chats" (2019-20)

How might we harness the power of storytelling in order to bring the entire RCDS community together through the sharing of our profound, important, and life-changing perspectives while, at the same time, keeping the experience personal and intimate?

Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, even parents, have had many powerful and life-changing experiences. Through endeavors such as TED talks, The Moth Radio Hour, and StoryCorps, modern media has taught us the power of the story to build empathy and tear down barriers. Indeed, when we hear and take interest in the experiences of another, we nurture the roots of compassion, tolerance, and understanding that sustain the kind of people we all aspire to be. It is our hope that through WildChats, we can prove that just a few minutes can establish a mindset that lasts a lifetime.

Our plan is to stage and film intimate public speeches or themed conversations that would then be broadcast to the greater community. Through previous opportunities such as "Why am I here" talks at morning meeting and in peer leadership, Wildcats Around the World Roundtables, and the Public Speaking curriculum, we have seen first-hand the effect that both sharing and hearing a story can have on an audience and a community. We will provide the structure and support to those members of our community, young and old, who are interested in sharing their stories. We hope to draw on the range of powerful experiences of the members of our community to provide varied content that would touch on many areas of our school's mission. Stories of struggle, success, failure, history, justice, inclusion are virtually limitless, and all are welcome for this project.

Giving our students this chance to intimately share their stories to a broader audience will cause them to reflect on their own experiences more profoundly and to process and value their story, their adventure, their experience with greater lasting significance in their own lives. Anyone anywhere who watches these WildChats will see how inspiring our students are and will benefit from their experience, perspective, and wisdom.

Robert Coles believes that we enter another person's life through stories, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, believes that "when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise." We agree with them!


Ron Hanlon Profile Photo

Jay Gerlach
Drama and Dance Department Chair and Drama Teacher



Tammy McKenna Photo

Joan Kubisch
Middle School and Upper School Modern Languages Teacher



Kyle Mitschele Photo

Tim Silverman
Middle School Spanish Teacher and Upper School Counselor